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Taiwan Adds Mobility to Self-Driving Vehicle

2019-09-30 16:28:21

At the Taipei International Automobile Electronics Show 2019 (AutoTronics Taipei 2019), which ran from April 24 through 27, Director General Lo Ta-sheng of Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, hailed a self-driving vehicle parking few kilometers away on his smartphone loaded with a dedicated application from the booth taken up by the Mobility Taiwan Auto Research Consortium inside the venue. He was demonstrating a ride-hailing service built on autonomous vehicle platform developed by Taiwan’s high-tech industry.

From a huge screen posted at the booth, viewers saw the vehicle starting out promptly, moving through various traffic conditions safely. The demonstration proved the vehicle, which was developed by the government-backed Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC), could recognize pedestrian, traffic signs, vehicle types, roadway lanes, following vehicles, and adaptive cruise control in a variety of environmental conditions, attesting to Taiwan’s forte in integrating all these functions into self-driving vehicles with a well developed supply chain.

This year, AutoTronic, taking place in conjunction with other five vehicle-related shows—Taipei International

Auto Parts & Accessories Show (Taipei AMPA), Taiwan International Intelligent Transportation Show (Taiwan ITS), Taiwan Electric Vehicle Show (Taiwan EVS), Motorcycle Taiwan, and Taiwan Car Tuning— exhibited 23 extraordinary R&D achievements and innovative technologies under the theme “Smart Mobility”.

Lo noted that along with smart and mobility technologies gaining prominence in automotive industry, the Taiwan Auto Research Consortium has begun tasked itself with mobility project this year and added “Mobility” in its name to echo the rising trend.

He added that with unmatched advantages built on its well established information-communication technology and semiconductor manufacturing, Taiwan should lead the way in cross-sector cooperation when embracing the era of smart driving. Beginning this year, the consortium, backed by Lo’s department, will incrementally transfer its technologies and commercialize its technologies and help Taiwanese manufacturers into the market of mobility self-driving 

vehicles. Also, he suggested the private sector, government and academic circle to work together to promote Taiwan brand on the international market.

To foster cooperation of Taiwan’s automotive industry with its international counterparts, DoIT coordinated the private sector and government-backed institutes to open the consortium in May 2005. Currently, consortium members include the Metal Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), Automotive Research and Test Center (ARTC), Mechanical and Mechatronics Systems Research Laboratories of Industrial Technology Research Institute (MSL/ITRI), National Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) and Hua-chun Automobile Information Technical Center Co., Ltd. (HAITEC).

Test on open field is crucial to the development of self-driving vehicles as all calibrations, verification, and demonstration of commercial operation of the vehicles need to be implemented only through field tests. At the opening ceremony of the exhibition, ITRI announced singing an agreement with the Hsinchu Government to test its self-driving vehicles on the city’s roads at Nanliao.

The consortium claims that ITRI owns Taiwan’s best autonomous vehicle technologies, including the one that can identify type and position of moving obstacles. The institute has tested its self-driving vehicle for up to 2,000 kilometers on the roads of its campus for pedestrians and vehicles free from traffic controls. Convinced by the reliable records, the Hsinchu City Government has recently agreed 
to open roads at Nanliao for ITRI to conduct all-weather field test of its self-driving vehicles. 
This year, the auto electronics show’s flagship pavilion was broken into four sections in accordance with major themes—“Automated”, “Connected”, “Electrified”, and “Serviced”—to extensively show off the latest automotive technologies that the consortium has developed. Among them are 12 items that it has begun commercializing with 16 manufacturers in the hope of bringing “smart mobility” closer to people’s lives sooner. 

In terms of “Automated” technology, the consortium has strengthened its R&D projects related to night-time driving assistance system, such as a matrix-array LED adaptive front lighting system that is glaring free while boosting lighting area to increase driving safety at night thanks to its smart vehicle detecting technology.

As to “Connected” technology, the consortium has introduced a number of technologies including dynamic map positioning and dedicated short range communications (DSRC) devices, which allow self-driving vehicles or even motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians to better ensure them of safety on roadways.

In the respect of “Electrified” technology, the alliance has introduced several “electrified energy-saving” technologies such as driver, solid-state battery, and lightweight chassis structure. For instance, its solid-state battery gives over 40% more energy density than traditional liquid-state lithium batteries. Its lightweight chassis assures a self-driving vehicle of good manoeuvrability in narrow alleyway thanks to a rear-axle steering system that comes with the chassis. 

As for “Serviced” technology, the consortium has introduced a smart online system that employs Big Dada technology to analyze real-time status of roadways, running automobiles, parking spaces, and pedestrian traffic to provide the drivers a convenient experience. 

DoIT’s Lo noted that Taiwan’s information- communication technology and semiconductor industries, with their worldwide known forte, should lead the way to start cross-sector integration among themselves just like the consortium for the development of the island’s Mobility as a Service (MaaS) industry. Beginning this year, the consortium will commercialize and transfer its technologies to help local manufacturers into the market. He suggested the island’s private sector, government organizations and research institutes work together to promote R&D brands of Taiwan automotive industry on the potential international market for mobility service. 

The list of 23 innovative technologies showcased by mTARC